CAESAR SALAD & CRISPY CAPERS
Although Caesar Salad is served in a great
many Italian restaurants the salads origin is
actually not Italy. In fact what most of us
recognize as a Caesar salad is an
amalgamation of what it has developed
into over the last several decades. It was
first prepared in 1924 by Caesar Cardini,
an Italian chef in Tijuana, Mexico; according
to some sources, he used no anchovies.
This recipe is a blend of the old and the new. While it is not the thick garlicky ranch style dressing that many restaurants serve, it is slightly creamy and yes, it does have anchovies. It gets its creamy texture from the whisking of egg and lemon juice, the same base for a good homemade mayonnaise. Since it calls for a near raw egg this recipe is for a small batch and should not be kept for more than a few days in the refrigerator. Coddling the egg just cooks the egg white a little and makes it feel better. Of course it’s a fact; free-range eggs honestly taste better.
Fresh well-washed romaine lettuce leaves – pat dry with paper towel or clean dishcloth.
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
Juice from one fresh lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 coddled egg fresh free-range egg (submerge egg in boiling water for 1 to two minutes, remove and submerge in cold water)
1/4-cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Croutons for topping – cut Italian bread into cubes and toast in the oven for a few minutes
1 teaspoon crispy capers - just heat a little oil in a skillet and fry capers till crispy about a three or four minutes.
1/4 cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
It might seem complicated but it is really quite easy and you will be surprised at how fast it comes together. In fact, if you would prefer, you can use a blender instead of hand whisking. You might find that doing it by hand helps get rid up built up tensions.
In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste and Dijon mustard to make a smooth paste.
Crack the coddled egg in a small bowl and make sure you scoop out the cooked white from the shell.
Whisk this and then add to lemon anchovy mix.
While whisking the mixture add the olive oil a little at a time.
Test for seasoning and add cracked pepper
On cold salad plates fan the romaine leaves out, use about six to eight per person. Drizzle the dressing over the leaves.
Top with crispy capers, croutons, and the Parmesan cheese.
Whether to chop the romaine leaves or leaving whole is totally up to you. The latter may be eaten by hand adding tactile enjoyment to the meal. As good as the dressing is, you still might like to taste the crisp lettuce. Enjoy as a starter or try adding crab cakes for a delicious main. Yes there is a recipe for them soon to come.